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Raptor Falcon III EMCCD Camera Uses Next Generation Technology in Low Light Imaging

Date Announced: 03 Aug 2020

Understanding Electron Multiplying Gain

Quantum Design UK and Ireland (QDUKI), distributor of high-tech scientific research instrumentation is the exclusive authorised channel sales partner of Raptor Photonics products for the UK and Ireland.

Raptor Photonics, a global leader in the design and manufacture of high-performance digital cameras, has a white paper featuring the Falcon III, which uses ground-breaking EMCCD – GEN III technology.

The Falcon III incorporates an EMCCD sensor developed by e2v which offers 1MP resolution with 10µm square pixels.  A back-illuminated sensor offers a peak QE of >95% offering unsurpassed sensitivity with a total noise floor as low as 0.01 electrons readout noise.

EMCCD – GEN III offers the combination of ultimate sensitivity and speed through a single output amplifier thereby maximising uniformity.  It is three times faster than previous generation EMCCDs with superior linearity and low gain performance.  Up to 5000 x EM gain can be applied to the sensor using lower voltages resulting in reduced sensor ageing effects. The camera can be cooled to -100°C for lowest possible background events using Raptor’s long life ruggedised PentaVacTM vacuum technology.

The Falcon III will target any low light application where speed, resolution and sensitivity matter including adaptive optics, calcium imaging and fluorescence and astronomy.

Raptor VP of Sales & Marketing, Mark Donaghy comments, “EMCCD technology is well established in the market having first been released around 16 years ago.  It still offers the best combination of speed and sensitivity for ultra-low light applications.  EMCCD – GEN III technology takes this performance to the next level, offering the ultimate resolution, speed and sensitivity through a single output amplifier.  We have worked very closely with e2v to ensure that the Falcon III camera delivers the optimum performance from this new CCD351 image sensor.”

This family of back-thinned EMCCD cameras offers a range of resolution, pixel pitch and speed which are perfectly suited to ultra-low light imaging applications”, he continued.

Understanding Electron Multiplying Gain

Electron Multiplying CCD (EMCCD) cameras, such as the Falcon III, can be used to detect very weak signals, which would otherwise be lost within the noise floor of the camera. Using a conventional CCD to detect these very weak signals, usually requires both long exposure times (to integrate a detectable amount of signal) and slow readout rates (to minimise the read noise). However, EMCCD cameras can detect these same signals using much shorter exposure times and higher readout rates. This is done by applying EM gain to the signal before it reaches the output amplifier of the CCD sensor, effectively reducing the read noise of the sensor by a factor equal to the amount of gain applied.

  • EMCCDs are the most sensitive solid-state imaging devices for low light detection in the VUV to NIR wavelength range.
  • EMCCDs deliver many of the benefits of a conventional CCD detector, such as low dark current and excellent image uniformity, but with the additional benefits of sensitivity down to single photon detection and increased frame rates.
  • The impact ionisation process used to produce EM gain is strongly dependent on voltage clock amplitudes, sensor temperature and sensor history.
  • The actual amount of EM gain applied cannot be accurately defined by semi-empirical approximations, particularly over extended periods of usage. In some cases, the actual and reported values of the “real” or “linear” gain can very quickly deviate from one another.
  • The best rule of thumb for using EMCCDs is to use just enough EM gain to bring the detected signal out of the camera noise floor.
  • Excessive EM gain will reduce the systems intra-scene dynamic range and possibly result in accelerated ageing of the EMCCD sensor.
  • The sensor used in the Falcon III has the lowest voltage clock amplitude required to produce EM gain of all commercially available sensors presently available.
  • Optimisation of EM gain usage and care to avoid excessive charge transfer through the multiplication register will provide an extremely sensitive camera system capable of many years operation.

The full white paper “Understanding Electron Multiplying Gain” can be downloaded here: https://qd-uki.co.uk/understanding-electron-multiplying-gain/

Contact


About Quantum Design UK & Ireland
 
A leading distributor of high-tech instrumentation and consumables for scientific, academic, and industrial research. Quantum Design UK & Ireland are part of the QDI Group. QDUKI’s success in distributing scientific products comes from more than 30 years’ experience in manufacturing and distributing its own industry-leading materials characterisation systems. Visit www.qd-uki.co.uk for more information.
UK Contact: Angela Carslake +44 (0)1372 378822 angela@qd-uki.co.uk
 
About Raptor Photonics
Raptor Photonics Ltd is a leading developer and supplier of next generation, high performance digital camera solutions for global Scientific, Surveillance, and Industrial markets. The company offers complete cameras and core engine solutions using CCD, EMCCD, and InGaAs sensors. As well as its portfolio of commercial off the shelf (COTS) products, Raptor provides custom solutions to OEM and Instrumentation companies throughout the world. Raptor Photonics Ltd is a registered ISO 9001:2008 company and is headquartered in Larne, Northern Ireland.
Raptor Contact: +44 (0)28 2827 0141 sales@raptorphotonics.com

E-mail: angela@qd-uki.co.uk

Web Site: www.qd-uki.co.uk

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